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Power Query SDK for Visual Studio Code – Public Preview

Today, Power Query offers one of the richest Data Connectivity platforms in the industry, with out-of-the-box connectivity to over 170 types of data sources and hundreds more through generic connectivity interfaces, enabling several millions of users to connect to data of any shape and size, and reshape it to fit their needs.

A key contributing factor to the richness of Power Query’s Data Connectivity is that, in addition to data connectors built by Microsoft, Power Query provides an extensible platform that allows any Developer to build and release their own Power Query connectors by leveraging the Power Query Connectors SDK.

These connectors can be easily distributed to users, loaded into Power BI Desktop (for authoring of reports) and the On-premises data gateway (for operationalization of those reports). In addition to allowing anyone, including 3rd parties outside of Microsoft, to build connectors with this SDK, Microsoft also provides a Connector Certification program so that ISVs owning Data Platforms and Services can submit connectors built against those data sources to Microsoft for certification, enabling them to be released out-of-the-box in Power Query product experiences within Power BI (Power BI Desktop, Dataflows, and Datamarts).

We are very excited to make an announcement this week that expands further on this success story – the Public Preview Release of the new Power Query SDK for Visual Studio Code!

Why release a new Power Query SDK in Visual Studio Code?

The current Power Query SDK is based on and used within Visual Studio 2019. The developer experience is within Visual Studio; however, the testing phase is primarily done outside of Visual Studio. Developers need to build and export a package within Visual Studio that is then loaded into Power BI for testing. There is also a lack of developer-friendly linting and tooling in the current developer experience.

We have heard direct feedback from many of our partner connector developers who build and certify connectors on our platform today, that the developer experience needs improving. Hence, we are releasing a new Power Query SDK based on a more lightweight and extensible developer platform: Visual Studio Code.

What is the difference between this new VS Code SDK and the previous Visual Studio-based SDK?

We are focused on providing a parity release of the new Visual Studio Code SDK when compared to the previous Visual Studio-based SDK to ensure our developers still have access to all the features they previously did. This also provides a friendly transition for developers to adopt the new SDK.

However, we have a ton of new features beyond parity planned for this new SDK, including linting tools, Intellisense, built-in test tooling, and many more. A few of those features are already part of the current release such as the new results pane and the ability to test your TestConnection function for cloud refresh on the Power BI Service.

In the future, the current Power Query SDK in Visual Studio 2019 will be deprecated, and the Power Query SDK for Visual Studio Code will become the default supported SDK going forward for creating new data connectors. All our investments will be toward the new Visual Studio Code-based SDK.

How can I try the new Power Query SDK for Visual Studio Code and provide feedback?

The new Power Query SDK in Visual Studio Code is available today through the Visual Studio Code marketplace. You can click the link to try it today.

Once you have installed the extension, you can then create a new extension project using the provided custom connector template. After building the connector file (.mez), you can start development on the connector.

Some features supported in the SDK are:

  • running and testing queries
  • testing the TestConnection for refresh on the cloud
  • viewing query results
  • leveraging syntax highlighting and Intellisense for M
  • managing your workspace settings and other project-level configurations
Common tasks available for the Power Query SDK in Visual Studio Code

We also welcome any contributions and suggestions to the SDK through the GitHub project.

We are excited to have you try out the new Power Query SDK for Visual Studio Code, and look forward to hearing your feedback!